Denver Falls At Detroit

There would be no comeback this time.

A week ago, the Denver Nuggets trailed by 17, heading into the fourth, on their way to overcoming a 25-point deficit to pull out a win on the road against Memphis. Monday, in Detroit, they would make no such push.

The Nuggets fell behind 14 after three in a 129-103 loss to the Pistons at Little Caesar’s Arena. The game got out of hand in the second quarter when Denver was outscored 34-19 to see their six-game winning streak snapped. Playing its third game in four days, and its second amid a four-game, east coast road trip, Denver never recovered. The Nuggets were behind by as many as 29 in the fourth.

Denver was also without the services of their Opening Night starters - point guard Jamal Murray, shooting guard Gary Harris and power forward Paul Millsap - all of whom sat with injuries.

“Regardless of how many bodies we had available, we didn’t defend the whole night,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “…Healthy bodies or no healthy bodies, we got our butts kicked tonight. So, no excuses.”

Trey Lyles had his second-straight stellar scoring outing following a 19-point night Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves with 20-point contest against the Pistons to lead Denver in its worst loss of the season.

Flint, Mich. native Monte Morris started for the fourth-straight game and came out on fire, scoring 11 points in the first quarter. However, the Iowa State product cooled down much like the rest of the Nuggets, scoring just seven the rest of the way.

Newly-named all-star Nuggets center Nikola Jokić had a pedestrian night by his lofty standards, scoring 16 points to go along with four assists and three rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Malik Beasley scored 16. Mason Plumlee recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Will Barton added 10 in a losing effort.

Detroit (23-29) was led by center Andre Drummond, who scored a game-high 27 points on 12-for-14 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds while Stanley Johnson added 21 and Langston Galloway dropped 18 off the bench. Blake Griffin contributed 17 points and snatched seven rebounds. Luke Kennard (14) and Reggie Bullock (11) had double-figure scoring nights as well.

The Nuggets were out-rebounded 53-32.

“Andre Drummond leads the NBA. That’s what he does. He crashes the glass,” Malone said. “We did not meet the challenge of finding him, hitting him early, keeping him off the glass. The shot is taken. You can’t ball watch. While we’re ball watching, he’s carving out space underneath.”

The Nuggets travel to New York to face the Brooklyn Nets at 5:30 p.m. MT. That game will be broadcasted live on Altitude TV and streamed on AltitudeNOW.